things I get asked – part three: my favorite places

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I suppose this should have been the first post – as it is the question I get asked the most – but it was important that we established that I’m a cool guy. with cool things.

let’s get to it.

my Top 10 Favorite Places in the world. ever.

[all photos are mine unless noted.]

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[not my photo.]

1. the West Coast of Ireland – I’d say this even if I didn’t come from an Irish family. there’s magic here, there are ghosts that stumble and men who slur and ladies who twinkle. there’s crap weather and worse food, but… my god, when you spend the day walking across the green near The Cliffs, and then spend the evening trying to play catch-up with the craic in one of Doolin’s tiny pubs, you’ll see why this grabs my top spot. and – just in case those who I’ve appointed are either dead, or too drunk to function – scatter my ashes here, please.

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2. France. I love everything about this country – the wine, the food, the music, the people, even a hint at where The Ark resides [!] … all of it. is there an arrogance? yes. absolutely. they have one of the world’s best countries, a fierce attitude to people who tell them what to do, and a way of life that ensures enjoyment amongst adversity. in my most secret of places, I’ll admit to wanting to find an older wife there… who smokes… with an asymmetrical haircut… and lots of eyeliner… who disagrees with everything that I say.

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3. New Orleans. up until this spring, I didn’t really like New Orleans. truth. the three times I was there before were spent drunk on Bourbon Street, staying within the few blocks of the French Quarter. but this time around, I got to see the real side, meet the real folks, eat the real gumbo, feel the real voodoo, learn about the real attitude,  [think Southern lax with the above French joie de vivre… but, you know, alcoholic] – and when I left, it felt like home. and I still think back on those short few months I called it that. if I had my druthers, I’d spend Feb-May here every year.

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4. Indonesia. what a place! I got nothing but love for this country. some of Asia’s best food, nicest people [seriously], most diverse topography, easiest language for English speakers to pick up… I love all of it. even Jarkarta, the giant shithole that it is. kopi and clove cigarettes, satay and beer. and one of the best meals I’ve ever had – mie ayam – from this guy.

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5. Valparaiso, Chile. when I signed on to do the BBC series, I had one demand. [okay, not demand, it was the BBC and I was homeless], but I had one request: we film one show in Valparaiso. this place has become my South American home-away-from… well, your spare room, but with good reasons. wine [obviously], famous snacks, gorgeous views, a thriving art scene, cheap, fantastic fish, great music and, c’mon, Chileans. best folks on the continent. [and I say this after almost being locked-up... and being caught in a pretty serious riot.]

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[not my photo]

6. Bagan, Myanmar. if that photo above doesn’t tell you why this is one of the most magical spots in the world, then nothing I can say will. but trust me.

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7a. Sicily – I knew it was going to be nice, but I had no idea how nice. are the people nuts? yes. but in the best of ways. the wine and the food and the chocolate speak to that – it’s Italy, sure… but Italy turned up to 11. one of my most beloved towns was found by accident, an eerie Easter spent in the town photographed above, some of the best bike riding and a people whose kindness, generosity were only matched by…

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7b. Greece. I didn’t expect much from Greece – as silly as that might seem. sure, a few nice sunsets on Santorini, taking in the jaw-dropping sites of Meteora [above] … but that’s about it. I didn’t expect to fall in love with Athens, to cycle around a part I still can’t remember the name of, to find the most magical of monasteries [no photos allowed], to meet the absolute kindest of folks. go for the sites, but be prepared to be embraced. a wonderful country, an even more wonderful people.

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8. the South of England – I called this area ‘home‘ for the better part of three years. it’s the England of our minds – the rolling hills, country pubs, place of legends. every person who spends more than 3 days in London gets a very stern email from me re: visit the real UK – and this is it. country folks, good cider, better golf, the best snack, gorgeous towns.

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9. Bend, Oregon – I once wrote that this was the best town in the US, and I still stand by that… small place, amazing beer, serious food, great skiing, great hiking, great venues – and the mountain keeps the dreary Oregon rain away. only drawback: the price. but hey.

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10. Berlin, Germany – if I were 10 years younger, I’d be writing this from Berlin – it’d kill me now. no other place makes me want to pull out my camera, my pen + paper, more. brash, cheap, industrial, open, beautiful, drunk … even the sex club people are nice. all of the things that make for an inspirational town.

and there you go – my top 10 favorite places in all of the world.

runners up: Havana, Belgium, Bolivia, Sarajevo, Seattle, Syria and West Texas.

places that I haven’t been, but if I had, would probably make this list: Norway, British Colombia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Romania/Bulgaria, and Montana.

[end]

One Comment

Got something to say? Feel free, I want to hear from you! Leave a Comment

  1. Belinda Cross says:

    I disagree with everything you sai, but I am thinking about cutting my hair and moving to France………….. 😉

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